Australia celebrates International Day of People with Disability in Africa


Wednesday, December 3 marks International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) – a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to increase public awareness, understanding and inclusion of people with disability and to celebrate their achievements.


The Australian Government has been supporting IDPwD since 1996. The head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Africa Branch, Adam McCarthy, said the Government sought to empower people with disability through its aid program in Africa, including in its Australia Awards.


Mr McCarthy said that since 2011, 75 African students with a disability had received an Australia Awards Scholarship or Fellowship.


“Ensuring all individuals have a fair go at reaching their full potential is at the core of the Australian Government’s strategy to promote development in Africa through education and training. This is reflected in our support for Australia Awards recipients with disability,” he said.


“The Australia Awards aim to ensure that all people with a disability are given fair and equal opportunity to compete for and obtain an Award, and to participate on an equal basis with all other students. We strongly encourage applications from people with disability and the program has mechanisms in place, including a Disability Access and Equity Fund, to ensure support to applicants and Awardees requiring specific assistance.”


He said that in all stages of the Awards cycle, from application through to alumni, the program encouraged recipients to reflect on the importance of inclusive development in their country and to consider social inclusion policies and practices that they could implement on their return to Africa.


The team that manages Australia Awards applications from Africa was formally recognised by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at its inaugural Disability-Inclusive Development Awards in December last year for excellence in the support of people with disabilities.


The Australian Government opened applications for the latest round of Australia Awards Scholarships and the shorter-term Australia Awards Fellowships on 1 September 2014.  Applications for Scholarships to commence in 2016 close on 12 December 2014.



For more information on Australia Awards available in Africa see:


To speak to a member of the Australia Awards team please contact:


Temana Mabula, Communications Officer, Australia Awards


Tel: +27 12 362 4360

Fax: +27 12 362 4361